Hello, Friends. How are you? How was your week? We’ve had a good one, but our house felt strange to me. Oscar has been at Scout Camp since Saturday, and Ralph is still in Colombia on a mission, but our four daughters were home. Without any sons around, the house definitely felt different. It actually feels different whenever any kid is gone, but when Ben Blair was out for the evening yesterday, and it was just the 5 of us female Blairs having dinner together, it occurred to me how rare that is at our house. : )

Our weekend plans include a first drum lesson for Betty and June. A swim meet. Oscar getting home from Scout Camp. And sending all the kids off to Cousins Week. This will be June’s first time at Cousins Week — 8 years old is the minimum age.

How about you? Anything fun on your schedule? Just in case you’re looking for some entertainment, here are a few things I’ve been wanting to share with you:

– How gaming and social media companies use psychology to manipulate children. Important and troubling research.

– Related, “I Used Apple’s New Controls to Limit a Teenager’s iPhone Time (and It Worked!)” (NYT)

– The most popular summer recipes in every state.

– “My son is not the same.” Trauma from family separations at the border continues. We are doing real damage to real people, and it will come back to bit us. We are creating people who hate us, and who, with good reason, will want to cause our country harm.

– Related, two immigrant mothers say that when they were finally reunited with their children after several months, their children didn’t seem to know who they were.

– Hahaha! English sports. I don’t know what this is. (Is it a skit? Is it real?) But I’m totally on board.

– Are you following “Plastic Strawgate?” Why people with disabilities want bans on plastic straws to be more flexible.

– Plus, a helpful chart on this topic. And I found this commentary interesting — “Plastic Strawgate became a thing for the same reason we endlessly argue over recycling: It’s easier to fixate on small, personal choices that feel under our control than it is to restructure our society at the systemic level we’d need to truly help the environment.”

– My favorite new fan theory — did Mary Poppins go to Hogwarts?

– Woah. Spiders do that ballooning trick — flying off on a strand of web — by harnessing the electric field of the planet? Amazing.

– I went to my church book group on Tuesday. The book was Educated by Tara Westover. Have you read it? Next up on my reading list is Less by Andrew Sean Greer.

– This gamer didn’t see herself in The Sims, so she created content to fill the void.

– Remembering my years of totally lopsided breasts.

– Cool. The UK’s current heatwave is exposing the outline of ancient forts and settlements. Soil quality today is still affected by iron age construction, so the grass on top changes color at a different rate in the sun.

I hope you have a good weekend. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.

kisses,
Gabrielle

P.S. — Cousins Week had a shift last year. It’s still in St. George, but my sister Sara moved from St. George to Salt Lake City. So now my brother Salem hosts it. And these days, our older kids can chaperone the younger ones on a plane ride, so Ben Blair and I no longer need to spend the week in St. George.